Cardiovascular Center: Structural Heart and Valvular Disease Program

Structural heart disease refers to a number of conditions that may be congenital in nature or abnormalities caused by other diseases or simple wear and tear that may come as a person ages. These can include:

Many of these conditions have negative effects on a person's quality of life, and some, when left untreated, can cause heart failure and may lead to death. PFO could be one of the reasons for a stroke in a young age, particularly in women.

Specialists at the UF Health Cardiovascular Center in Jacksonville, Florida, lead the region in care for structural heart conditions with advanced diagnosis and treatment options found only at a leading academic medical center. The center is also a valuable option for second opinions concerning diagnosis and treatment options.

Symptoms of Structural Heart Disease

Some structural heart diseases have no symptoms and are found only upon examination, while many include symptoms such as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart murmur
  • Migraine headaches
  • Difficulty doing exercise or other physical activity
  • Blood clots
  • Swelling in the legs, feet or abdomen
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a "mini-stroke"

Many of these symptoms may also be associated with other diseases and conditions, so it is important that if you are experiencing any of these, you should seek advice from your medical doctor.

Diagnosing Structural Heart Disease

The UF Health Cardiovascular Center employs a number of techniques to determine the existence and severity of structural heart disease. Tests may include:

  • A complete physical exam to assess your overall health.
  • An echocardiogram (echo) to obtain a detailed image of your heart.
  • An electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) to monitor the electrical activity of your heart for potential rhythm problems.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to capture 3D images of your heart to check for structural or functional problems.
  • Computed tomography (CT) to provide a detailed image of the heart and surrounding blood vessels.
  • Cardiac catheterization, a minimally invasive procedure used to evaluate heart function.
  • A "bubble test" to see if a saltwater solution passes between two chambers of your heart when injected into the heart.
  • A chest X-ray to check your heart and lungs to help rule out other conditions that could cause similar symptoms.

Treating Structural Heart Disease

Some people have a structural heart defect and do not experience symptoms or problems. In these cases, no treatment is usually necessary. However, when structural heart disease causes problems with the function of your heart and related systems, it can lead to heart failure.

In some cases, heart conditions can be controlled with medication that can lessen symptoms associated with valvular or structural heart disease. Certain medications can help control irregular heartbeats, provide relief from discomfort associated with heart disease and help prevent blood clots.

When medication therapy is not enough, a number of advanced minimally invasive or open surgical options may be used to treat or correct heart disease conditions. Our cardiovascular specialists work as a team to determine the right procedure for each individual patient for the best outcomes possible. These may include:

Why Choose UF Health for Treatment of Structural Heart Disease

Our doctors have been leaders in percutaneous transcatheter interventions and minimally invasive heart and chest surgery for more than two decades. Our interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic (heart and chest) surgeons are professors and researchers in one of the nation's largest cardiothoracic training programs at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

The UF Health Cardiovascular Center – Jacksonville offers more treatment options than other facilities, which in many cases means better outcomes for cardiovascular patients. Because we are part of UF Health, we are committed to staying on the leading edge of what's coming next in cardiovascular treatment and research. What's more, our surgeons and cardiologists take a team approach to assessing each individual patient so we can create a customized, effective treatment plan.

Jacksonville Structural Heart Disease Specialists

  • Theodore A. Bass, M.D.
    Chief, Division of Cardiology; Medical Director, UF Health Cardiovascular Center - Jacksonville
    Specializes in Cardiovascular Disease; Interventional Cardiology
  • Andres M. Pineda Maldonado, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Specializes in Cardiovascular Disease; Interventional Cardiology; Structural Heart Disease Interventions
  • John Pirris, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
    Specializes in Thoracic Surgery
  • Srinivasan Sattiraju, M.B.B.S. (M.D.)
    Assistant Professor
    Medical Director, Cardiovascular Noninvasive Laboratory
    Specializes in Cardiovascular Disease
  • Daniel Soffer, M.D.
    Associate Professor
    Medical Director, Endovascular Cardiology
    Specializes in Cardiovascular Disease; Interventional Cardiology

Structural Heart Disease Disease Program Locations

  1. UF Health Cardiology – St. Marys

    201 B Lakeshore Point
    St. Marys, GA 31558

  2. UF Health Cardiovascular Center – Emerson

    Suite 120
    4555 Emerson Street
    Jacksonville, FL 32207

  3. UF Health Cardiovascular Center – Jacksonville

    5th Floor, Ambulatory Care Center
    655 West 8th Street
    Jacksonville, FL 32209

  4. UF Health Cardiovascular Center – North

    Suite 3600
    15255 Max Leggett Parkway
    Jacksonville, FL 32218

  5. UF Health Neurosurgery – Jacksonville

    8th Floor, Tower I
    580 West 8th Street
    Jacksonville, FL 32209